Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Cdcm Computer Music Series|
CDCM Computer Music Series, Vol 12 -- Composers in the Computer Age I
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Another mixed bag from CDCM
Steve Benner | Lancaster, UK | 04/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This twelfth volume in the on-going series of computer music releases from the Consortium to Distribute Computer Music features the work of just three composers, Richard Karpen, John Rahn and Diane Thome, all of whom are based at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Each of these composers is well established in their field and each has developed their own distinctive musical voice, making this something of a varied release, both in terms of compositional styles and intentions, and in terms of the musical forces deployed. First up is Diane Thome's "The Ruins of the Heart", written in 1990. Scored for soprano, orchestra and tape, this substantial, 18-minute work represents a characteristic blend of post-Romantic orchestral lushness, post-Modernist rhythmic structuring and harmonic simplicity, and powerful late 20th century computer-realised synthetic soundscape. The composition itself is a setting of texts drawn from Edmund Helminski's translations of the 13th century Sufi poet, Jeláluddin Rumi. At times embedded within the orchestral textures, at others soaring above them, the voice of soprano - Mary Henderson on this recording - threads lines from these translations through the composition, albeit with frequent rests, while the orchestra elaborates for a time on the imagery suggested by the words. Each of the orchestral interludes in turn gives way to the synthetic soundworld of the tape part, itself providing a contrasting commentary on the material. The work provides a gentle introduction to the rather more severe offerings occupying the rest of the disc. John Rahn is represented by two works. His 13-minute tape work "Miranda" (1990) uses a reading of the USA's so-called Miranda Warning (the US police's standard reading of an arrested suspect's rights) digitally edited and rearranged to build a somewhat grotesque study in reconstructed vocal texturing. At times almost comic (especially at the point where the chopped up words start coming out as 'do you have the right time?') the work nevertheless also has a disturbing aspect to it. While being moderately interested first time through, this is not, however, a work that stands up well to repeated listenings. In contrast to this purely vocal offering, the somewhat shorter "Kali" (1986) uses heavy washes of computer-shaped noise in an attempt, the composer tells us in the CD sleeve notes, "to make the persona [of the goddess Kali] present to the listener." Any listener actually anxious to enter the presence of the Hindu Goddess of Death and Destruction is welcome to indulge themselves all they wish. Personally, I'll pass on a repeat audience, if it's all the same with you. I've no idea where this particular goddess came by her girdle of severed heads but I have no intention of hanging around to find out.Richard Karpen's music provides something of a half-way house between the severe sonic abstractions of John Rahn and the more romantic lyricism of Diane Thome. His 7-minute tape work "Denouement" (1991) opens with a synthesised deep base chant, out of which more abstract computer-processed textures gradually emerge to form an engulfing envelope of saw-edged drones and visceral tonalities, before a rising piano figure finally disperses the nightmare in a quite magical manner. By contrast, the same composer's "Saxonomy", for live saxophonist and computer-realised tape, dating from 1990-1, inhabits the same world of large-scale complex forms as the disc's opening track, but features a much more sear and acerbic series of instrumental and computer-processed tones and textures. These, together with the hectic and impatient pace to its 23 minutes, create music that demands of the listener the utmost attention and imbue it with an intensity that is altogether breathtaking. Drained you may well be by the end of it, but what a way to go!
In conclusion, then, this release provides an interesting view across several styles of composition emanating from the environs of Washington State, USA and is well worth a listen, whatever your preferences in contemporary serious music. The John Rahn works may be a bit hard for some people to take, but the quality of the other items on the disc more than makes up for them."